KU Sweeps UMKC In Home Opener

Sept. 4, 2007

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The University of <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas opened its 2007 home season with a 3-0 sweep (30-26, 30-17, 30-28) over the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kansas improves to 4-3 overall with the win, while the Kangaroos drop to 3-6.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Kansas proceeded to provide another strong defensive showing as the team collected 18 block assists compared to the Kangaroos’ mere six. KU also kept UMKC to a .008 hitting percentage, the lowest hitting percentage by a Jayhawk opponent so far this season. Caitlin Mahoney led KU at the net with six block assists plus one solo.

Junior Savannah Noyes was the lone Jayhawk in double-digit kills tallying 10 for the night. Freshman Karina Garlington contributed seven on a team-best and personal season-high .462 hitting percentage.

In the opening game, both teams battled for control. KU held an early lead until the Kangaroos came back to lock the score at 11. From there it was a back and forth power struggle with six more tied scores and four lead changes. KU put the game away with three straight points at the end for the 30-26 win.

The Jayhawks made quick work of UMKC in game two slamming 14 kills (.267 hitting percentage) while the Kangaroos could only come up with seven. Kansas never let go of its lead en route to a 30-17 win.

Despite being down 2-0, UMKC didn’t give up easily. KU faced its biggest deficit of the match trailing 16-9. However, the Jayhawks rallied back with five consecutive points to cut the Kangaroos’ lead to two at 16-14. Kansas continued to chip away at the score and tied the game at 26 and again at 28. Garlington notched the 29th point on a set from Emily Brown, and a ball handling error by UMKC gave Kansas game point and the match.

The Jayhawks return to Horejsi this weekend as they host their own Jayhawk Classic. Kansas will play Friday against St. Peters at noon and again later that evening at 7 p.m. versus Wyoming. The tournament will wrap up Saturday at 11 a.m. when KU takes on MoreheadState.

Tickets are available by calling 800-34-HAWKS, online at KUAthletics.com or at the doors prior to the matches. Live stats will also be available for every match online at KUAthletics.com.

Quotes from Coach Bechard:

On the game:

“We struggled a bit in game one and then we struggled in game three again. I was pleased with the way we played in game two and pleased with the way we played when we were down 25-20 in game three. I would feel a little bit better if we wouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation. Our hitting efficiency of .129 is well below our goal, but we held them way below theirs. Our serving was good and we blocked some balls, so that was solid. It’s a little different team to prepare for. On offense they are a little unorthodox so we had to do some things different. Some times we were out of position, but when we needed to win big points we did.”

On being recognized by Lew Perkins before the game:

“That’s the way they do things around here, first class all the time. It starts with him (Perkins) all the way down. I’m just glad I can be part of this program.

On the Jayhawk Invitational:

“Wyoming I know is feeling really good about their team. St. Peters is more of the mid-major type team. MoreheadState is picked to finish in the top half of their conference. You don’t hear about a lot of those teams sometimes. They are not household volleyball names, but I don’t think Appalachian State (football) is a household name either.”

Quotes from senior Emily Brown:

On UMKC taking an early lead in games 1 and 3:

“They work with what they have. They are very athletic and can do a bunch of different things. They definitely give you a different look and almost caught us off guard.”

On playing at home again:

“We’ve had a couple rough weeks of travel and there’s nothing better than coming home. I love playing here.”

On her play tonight:

“I feel like I played real well tonight. I just took big swings and tried to always get my serve in.”

On Brittany Williams:

“She’s a very dynamic player. She has a huge vertical and a heavy arm. When everything is right, she makes some big plays. It is fun to watch.”